China Files WTO Complaint Against U.S. Over Electric-Vehicle Subsidie

First Up 03/27/24

China Files WTO Complaint Against U.S. Over Electric-Vehicle Subsidie

China filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization over the U.S.’s Inflation Reduction Act, saying that it was discriminatory and distorted fair competition. Beijing will use the WTO’s dispute-settlement mechanism to challenge electric-vehicle subsidies, China’s Ministry of Commerce said on its website Tuesday. According to The Wall Street Journal, the rules being challenged require vehicles to use parts from specific regions to qualify for subsidies while excluding products from China, among other countries, the statement said. Under the IRA, which President Biden signed into law in August 2022, consumers in the U.S. won’t be able to claim a $7,500 clean-vehicle tax credit if they buy cars containing battery components from a “foreign entity of concern” starting in 2024. The policy will extend to the minerals that go into battery components in 2025. The move was seen by industry players as a way to reduce China’s role in the U.S. EV-industry supply chain. The definition covers any firm based in China, including subsidiaries of U.S. companies, as well as companies elsewhere that are 25 percent or more owned by state-backed entities from China. The rules also apply to Iran, North Korea, and Russia. Click here for the full story.

Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Ship Collision; Auto Shipping Hub Operations Face Disruption

A 948-foot container ship smashed into a four-lane bridge in the U.S. port of Baltimore in darkness early Tuesday, causing it to collapse and sending cars and people plunging into the river below Six people are missing and presumed dead from the accident. The Baltimore Fire Department called it a "mass casualty event." Traffic was suspended at the Port of Baltimore until further notice, Maryland transportation authorities said. It is the busiest U.S. port for car shipments, handling more than 750,000 vehicles in 2022, according to port data. The closure of one of the U.S. East Coast's major ports threatens to disrupt supplies of goods from cars, to coal and other commodities like sugar. According to Automotive News, Baltimore port's private and public terminals handled 847,158 autos and light trucks in 2023, the most of any U.S. port. The port also handles farm and construction machinery, sugar, gypsum, and coal, according to a Maryland government website. The port handles imports, exports and parts shipments for major automakers such as Nissan, Toyota, General Motors, Ford, Mazda, Subaru, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover and the Volkswagen Group — including luxury models for Audi, Lamborghini and Bentley. Click here for the full story.

Porsche CEO: U.S. Is the Backbone of the Brand's Sales Momentum

With demand cooling in its once-white-hot China market, Porsche is reorienting its attention to an old favorite: the United States. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume told U.S. retailers at a meeting in Singapore last week that the U.S. is the "backbone" of the sports car maker's sales momentum. According to dealer Robert DiStanislao, Porsche executives acknowledged at the meeting that the U.S. is the brand's "most durable and sustainable market." Porsche executives are leaning on the world's second-largest market as sales shrink in the largest, reports Automotive News. Last year, Porsche's deliveries in China fell 15 percent as the economic juggernaut slowed and domestic competition surged. China's passenger-car sales have stagnated since 2017, peaking at 24 million vehicles. Last year, deliveries came to 21.7 million, according to the China Automotive Technology and Research Center. "China was a fast-growing, high-profit market," said DiStanislao, president of Porsche Main Line in suburban Philadelphia. "So of course, [Porsche] loved it. Bur they now recognize the U.S. as the prettiest girl at the dance." Click here for the full story.

Infiniti Thinks Big with 2025 QX80 3-Row SUV

Infiniti launches the all-new ’25 QX80 this summer, a massive, long, tall, 3-row SUV crammed with electronic features that’s also a warm embrace for internal-combustion engines. Jose Roman, senior vice president and global head of Infiniti, calls the QX80 redesign the “best car” Infiniti has ever built. Not incidentally, Roman is also senior vice president, Global Sales, Nissan Motor Co., which means the Infiniti luxury brand always has a seat at the parent company head table. His favorite feature in the new Infiniti QX80? The engine, a twin-turbo, 3.5L V-6 that generates 450 hp at 5,600 rpm, and a robust 516 lb.ft of torque, at just 3,600 rpm, which Roman says is especially good for towing. “That engine is the best engine ever produced in the company,” Roman tells WardsAuto in an interview here the morning after a high-profile, rooftop unveiling. “I can only compare it to the engine in the GT-R.” Visually, the 2024 Nissan GT-R – a low-slung, 2-door sports car – couldn’t be more different. Click here for the full story.

CarGurus Study Shows Shift to Online Car Buying, Decline in Brand Loyalty

CarGurus has published its sixth annual U.S. Consumer Insights Report. The report reveals how consumer behavior has changed in the face of a highly competitive automotive market characterized by rising interest rates and costs, a growing selection, and more opportunities for work-from-home options. The study focuses on the reasons and locations behind people’s buying and selling decisions, examining how they prefer to complete some or all of the transaction process online. It is conducted among recent vehicle buyers and/or sellers. The report also comprehensively analyzes attitudes following the car buying transaction, reports CBT News. According to the CarGurus report, the following are the key takeaways: Consumers place greater emphasis on vehicle reliability and cost-effectiveness, with a notable shift in their willingness to consider different brands or models to meet these criteria, indicating a decline in brand loyalty. Consumers primarily drive the purchase decision based on price, while also considering factors such as inventory selection and the availability of financing or special offers. There is an increased consumer expectation for fair treatment during the buying process. Click here for the full story.


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